Water is one of the key factors in establishing a new lawn. When turf is harvested most of the roots are left behind in the field. The rest of the roots are there in the roll, but are in fact no use for the absorption of water. New Roots are sent out from the base of the plants and are quickly going to penetrate the soil. The length of time this takes will depend on time of year, ten to fourteen days in spring summer and up to four weeks in the autumn. So a newly laid turf needs moisture straight away to encourage new root growth and also keep the grass from de-hydration.
When watering in turf for the first time, it is important to water as soon as soon as possible on a hot day, evening watering sections of turf, while you are still laying. A new turf will quickly dry out on a sunny and/or windy day. The only time we recommend watering turf in direct sunshine is at this initial watering, this is because the turf is in recovery after being kept in a roll and needs moisture as quickly as possible. Turf should then be watered in the sade or early or late in the day, this will prevent possible scorching of the leaves. When laying the turf if they are butted close together and if insufficient water is being applied they will start to shrink as the grass is using the available water in the roll quickly, this is an indication that it needs more water straight away. If rain is forecasted still water your turf in, it may only be a small shower or it may not rain at all. If it does rain it will be a bonus.
New Turf may require water twice a day in the summer and once a day in the spring/ autumn for the first week, two to three times a week then after 3-6 weeks once a week. The turf must not dry out, do not get to the point when the soil is to sodden because over watering can be a problem especially on heavier soils. The sun and wind can also dry the top 25mm of ground. As your turf established roots are being sent in to the soil at the rate of 12.5mm a week, a matures turf on most UK soils will be between 150-250mm deep. So until the roots gets beyond the first 25mm of topsoil the sun and wind can play a big roll in drying out the soil as well as the turf absorbing moisture.
As you water it will percolate down into the soil eventually draining beyond the roots. It must also be remembered that other roots such as tree roots will also be taking in water, and area of tree shade may need to be watered just as much as full sunshine.
The amount of water to be applied is very difficult as each lawn would have different needs depending on location, shade, sun, type of soil, but you should not let turf sit in water as this will lead to root rot, is the prepataion has been done correctly the water should drawin away reasonably quickly from the root zone leaving the soil moist.
Water can be applied with a garden sprinkler this could be done by manual operation or by a timer. If the area is large it is worth considering an irrigation system as this could be installed prior to laying the turf. The duration of the watering should be in the region of 20-30 minutes as a rought guide dependant on time of year. During winter months it would not be necessary to water the turf.
After a year of establishment your new lawn will be well rooted and watering can be done in times of drought.